The beautiful warm weather is back and what a wonderful way to celebrate this coming weekend. Whether you’re going alfresco for the UK Bank Holiday weekend or making sunshine and great food for Memorial Day, we have some tasty options for you to consider.
This may not be welcome news for everyone – more BBQ’s, parties and unplanned celebratory events may mean more temptation, treats and ‘forced on you’ scenarios (including perhaps wine and drinks). Don’t despair, we have put together some top tips for how you can eat healthily during this sunny time – bariatrics can do summer eating and barbecues (see our previous feature here).
Look for smart choices with meat
Opt for lean cuts of meat that are lower in fat and poultry that has the skin removed (before or after cooking) – they are often wiser choices than burgers and sausages (although there are some good lean versions of these now commercially available – try them if you’re the party provider). I know fat brings flavour but you can re-add this by marinating meat in herb, spice and citrus marinades to compensate. Mix and match with roasted/grilled/broiled vegetables – thread them onto skewers with the meat for a colourful presentation.
Don’t forget the fish
Fish can be a healthier alternative and low-fat option. Consider fish steaks, fillets and of course seafood. It cooks fast so you can often throw on the grill/broiler when the main meat and vegetable cooking is finished. It is often fragile so if you have a hinged grill basket for cooking and turning the fish so much the better. Again a citrus or herb marinade will bring added flavour and interest.
Serve up the salads
I always have an array of salads to hand – whether it be a simple green, slaw type or something a bit more seasonal. They are usually light and healthy but do check the dressing isn’t a calorie trap. Substitute full fat mayo with lighter versions if liked or with yogurt, quark or half-fat creme fraiche. My favourite is to dress a plain salad with a squeeze of lemon juice or balsamic dressing rather than going the whole hog if I am watching the calories/fats and sugars.
A happy ending
There will be dessert right? It doesn’t seem right to forego … but why not choose a fruity ending. Chop up your favourite seasonal fruits to make a great fruit salad or skewer those that can be cooked or warmed through on the BBQ and then serve with some yogurt, low-fat cream or sugar-free ice cream.
We’re certainly not party poopers so there’s no suggestion to abstain here (you’re a grown up) however do look at low-sugar and calorie mixers and try to avoid beers and cocktails (that can be loaded with sugar). Bariatric dietitians differ on their advice for this subject but almost all agree to intersperse 2 glasses of water with every alcoholic drink.
Our choice this weekend is for some pork kebabs served with a feta salad. We used a smokehouse barbecue rub on the pork but you can use a favourite of your own. The salad is a feta, tomato and beetroot/beets one – if time is short or you’ve no inclination to make from scratch then pick up a ready-prepared Greek one as a side dish.
The meat is cooked on the BBQ and then transferred to cook in the oven, ensuring that is adequately cooked (and freeing the bbq for cooking accompaniments), but if you feel accomplished enough then you can cook fully on the BBQ itself.
PORK SOUVLAKI WITH FETA SALAD
4 pork shoulder steaks, trimmed or excess fat and cut into bite-sized chunks
1 red onion, quartered and cut into bite-sized chunks
1 red pepper/capsicum, cored and cut into bite-sized chunks
20 g/scant 1 oz barbecue rub (I used Bart Smokehouse Barbecue Rub)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tomatoes, chopped
½ cucumber, chopped
250 g/8 oz cooked beetroot/beets, chopped
2 little gem lettuce, chopped
2 spring onions/scallions, finely chopped
juice of 1 lemon
50 g/2 oz feta cheese, roughly crumbled
- Soak 8 wooden skewers in cold water for 30 minutes. Place the pork, red onion and red pepper/capsicum in a bag and sprinkle over the rub. Add half of the oil, the garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Shake to coat then marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, or up to 3-4 hours. Discard the marinade after removing the meat and vegetables for cooking.
- Preheat the oven to 200 C/400 F/gas 6. Thread the meat and vegetables onto the skewers. Cook on a hot griddle or on the BBQ for 10-12 minutes, turning every 2-3 minutes, until charred all over. Transfer to a foil-lined tray and roast for a further 10-15 minutes in the oven, until the pork is cooked, there is n pink meat and the juices run clear.
- Meanwhile, to make the salad, toss the tomatoes, cucumber, beetroot/beets, lettuce, spring onions/scallions and remaining oil in a bowl. Season, then scatter with the feta.
- Serve the souvlaki with the salad and flat breads if liked/
WLS PORTION: ½
CALORIES PER PORTION: 412
PROTEIN: 43 g
CARBOHYDRATE: 18 g
FAT: 17 g
Image courtesy of Waitrose